Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Moving up to Advanced from a Young Rider's Perspective by Missy Miller

The 2010 season ended for me and my horses on a bittersweet note. My quirky little trakehner mare, TSF Amazing Grace, earned individual silver and team gold at NAYRC, and successfully moved up to Advanced and I was in the top 20 on both my horses in the open intermediate at the AEC’s. After what I was convinced was an unrealistically wonderful year my other mare, Pembridge Swingtime, suffered a minor injury, preventing us from our goals of a fall CCI2*. She had been doing very well with my trainer, Leslie Law, while I was focusing on Grace and our NAYRC goals. Luckily, thanks to amazing vets and help Swinger is already on the mend as Gracie and I are pursuing our first season at advanced together.

For anyone that has ever met my mare Gracie, it can be agreed that she fully believes the TSF in front of her name should be replaced with HRH. I always say semi-jokingly that her ‘spunk’ is what makes her such a great event horse and even though we all curse the quickness of her hind legs on the ground I bless them while jumping. She has gone above and beyond anyones expectations the past few years, just ask Leslie about the first time he laid eyes on her. I don’t believe his first thoughts were “Here’s an advanced horse in the making.” As she was trotting around, head high, back hollow, snorting like a fire breathing dragon, with me desperately trying anything to put her in some form of a frame. Looking at how far she has come it makes her patience testing tendencies on the ground a little more bearable, for me at least. I won’t try to speak for vets, farriers and others on her black list.

2011 will not only be our first advanced season (hopefully) but also I am officially a full time student. For the past two years I have been taking classes in Ocala at Central Florida, making it easy to manage horses and school together. As of January I transferred to Savannah College of Art and Design to pursue a degree in fashion marketing and art history. So I am also bidding adieu to sleep and what little spare time the horse world allows to begin with. Lucky for me though, SCAD does not have classes on Fridays as those are set aside for studio days to work on projects, or in my case horse show days. If anyone knows of a company that puts school books on audio you would be my personal hero. This season my trailer at competitions will be doubling as a traveling art studio and havocked study space. Maybe the USET could use the help of a fashion major in help with selecting jog outfits at team competitions? Sans cowboy hats? ;)

Currently Leslie and I have planned my season on a “if all goes well” mantra up to the Red Hills CIC3*. Seeing as Gracie has already succeeded far more than initially expected the rest is just icing on the cake. After our first few shows this year Gracie continues to improve with each outing. We are already very friendly with the kind people at the AG station between Georgia and Florida. Next for us will be Red Hills, seeing as Pine top went better than expected. I was ecstatic with how she handled the one day and am feeling cautiously optimistic at the moment. Of course that will turn into violent butterflies as the event gets closer and the reality of it starts to set in. And of course to add onto the nerves my finals for classes are conveniently the week after Red Hills. Goodbye sanity.

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